Old Town in Autumn


To the editor:

I moved to Alexandria last year and am currently a subscriber to your newspaper. My daughter was so taken with Old Town when we were house hunting that she wrote this poem, Old Town in Autumn. I thought I would share it with you in case you are in need of a seasonal piece, or are as taken with it as I am. It was written by Emily Harmon, age 15 at the time of her writing it.

Sally Harmon Semple

Old Town in Autumn
By Emily Harmon

On a stroll feet moving over uneven brick sidewalks
Twisted trees enclose private streets in a haze of reds and golds.
Tall, narrow clapboard houses huddle close together in the cool autumn breeze,
Whispering their stories.
Take in a deep breath.
Fresh crisp autumn air flows through to the soul,
Tainted with the deep full scent of another time.
Farther down the cobblestone street one feels the presence
Of the horse drawn carriages that passed this way in another age,
Another autumn.
Contented bustle of past years seems to awaken,
Dancing at the corners of vision,
As past generations busy themselves in preparations for the winter.
You are at peace, one of this time and yet not.
In harmony with nature and with others.
Suddenly a blaring horn sounds from the distance.
Awakened, you see the peeling paint and crooked shutters,
The missing bricks of the sidewalk.
As you turn the corner you enter the flurry of modern life.
Stores and restaurants line the road,
Cars zip by.
Turning back to the stretch behind,
A residential street waits, old and charming.
But in the excitement of modern day,
The presence of years long past and the legacies of autumn
Have almost faded from memory.